People sometimes ask me just what a typical day as a family lawyer running a national firm is like. Well, there is travelling to be done, clients to meet, correspondence to write, cases to prepare, legal developments to follow….tweets to send too! But every so often a really spectacular day comes along…..like yesterday!
I was down in London for my monthly visit to the studios of ITV This Morning. As regular readers will know, I host a legal clinic on the show. Viewers phone in with questions on a variety of topics, some quite emotionally charged, and yesterday’s topic was certainly a hot button issue. Father’s rights are a complicated and thorny knot and sadly there is no quick fix. Men and women both have problems – they just have different ones. Neither gender is harder done by than the other – many will take issue with that statement I know, but I really believe it.
One of the questions on yesterday’s show concerned the issue of reductions in child maintenance when a non-resident father has more contact with their children. I suggested to the father who rang in that he might want to pay his seemingly struggling ex the difference if he really wanted more contact with his children.
One person tried to take me to task for this suggestion on Twitter, saying they couldn’t believe I’d said it and insisting that:
“More access with father more important to child than how much money the mother gets. Used too often as blackmail”.
“Negotiation is about compromise. It’s not about who is right or wrong. In my experience both sides will have strong arguments.”
One first this time around was recording a voiceover narration for a video clip introducing the topic of father’s rights. I managed it in one take and they were pretty pleased with that!
As ever, the ITV This Morning backstage green room was thronged with guests set for an appearance on that day’s show. There was Stephen Mulhern from Britain’s Got More Talent and the delightful James Jordan from Strictly Come Dancing, with whom I had a quick dance!
Also getting ready to go on was John Whaite, winner of last year’s Great British Bake Off. He was telling me all about the pithivier he was going to make on the show – very funny and a thoroughly nice guy.
On a much sadder note, the family of tragic Catherine Wells-Burr was there to discuss the recent sentencing of her murderer. They seemed a little nervous so I tried to reassure them and tell them how friendly everyone on the show is.
That friendliness extends to the driver who ferried me into the studios from my flat in the morning. We had a nice chat about York Races and I gave a him a hot tip for Royal Ascot – Songcraft, the winner of this year’s Stowe Family Law Grand Cup!
Coincidentally yesterday was also the day the Supreme Court announced its verdict in Petrodel v Prest, a long-running and much discussed family law case – so not only did I have to prepare for the legal clinic questions, I also had to quickly read and absorb a complex judgement! I was scheduled to appear on Sky News to the case and so, as soon as I finished I on ITV This Morning, I was immediately whisked off to their Millbank studios for a brief but smooth appearance on their bulletin.
And if all that wasn’t enough, I then zipped over to our London office for a meeting with a new client.
I’d like to pay special tribute to Paul Read, from our London office. He came everywhere with me during a tiring day and a great sounding board.
Finally I made it onto my train home. I looked over and who should I see sitting there but my sister Suzanne?? I couldn’t believe it. She’d been down in London babysitting for my niece Rebecca, who is a doctor at Moorfields Eye Hospital.
We had tea, lemon drizzle cake and a long catch-up on the journey back to Leeds!
It was a very long but very worthwhile day. But I was certainly glad to get home!